I think you’re the best female snowboarder of all time. Don’t try to say you’re not-I saw you land a 21-stair handrail your third try and learn switch backside rodeos in two.

Nate, you make it sound all heavy when it’s not really-you know I don’t see it like that. I was just doing what you, Sean Johnson, Jimmy Halopoff, and Ruht told me to do. Yeah, in my head I want to be the best. Who doesn’t? But I don’t think I’ll ever really think I’m the best. That’s just a matter of opinion, but thanks. I just want to keep learning new things, tricks, whatever, ya know?Why do you come across so humble and constantly talk about how much you suck? Is that how I come across? Damn, I better start hyping myself up then. As for the whole “I suck” thing, that’s usually when I’m frustrated because I am sucking. God knows I have my days. When I get frustrated and mad, I can’t help but throw mini tantrums or yell or something. I’ve always been that way with whatever sport I’m doing-skateboarding, surfing, soccer was a big one when I was in junior high and high school, moto, et cetera. Aggressive sports call for a little aggression at times.

Aggression this, aggression that. Lady, you’re scaring me. You’ve been killing it for years. Why are the masses only recently on your jock?
Well, I wouldn’t say they’re on my jock, but yeah, I guess it was just my time, or the change of time, or my payoff for paying my dues time-’cause you got to pay your dues for anything you do. Plus, there’s a lot more attention and demand to our sport these days.

When you first started shredding, did you ever think it would take you to where you are right now?
Heck no! I kind of knew and hoped it would take me somewhere, but never here. I first started snowboarding twelve years ago in the Bear Mountain/Snow Summit scene. All I can say is a lot has changed since then. As I started to progress, I pictured having my own signature board, but I’ve somewhat surpassed that with things like shooting for Rolling Stone, judging the Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant, doing movies, buying a house and a nice car, having signature everything, which I’m freaking on and so … no, I never thought it would take me this far. It’s kind of unbelievable how things are now.

So will there ever be a special-edition Tara Dakides Barbie_?
Yeah, and it’ll have messed up tattoos and piercings and fire-engine-red hair. Maybe instead of calling her Barbie we’ll call her Darbie_ like a female version of Darby Crash from the Germs. That’ll sell for sure.

Speaking of germs, did you have a perfect childhood?
Did anyone? No. In, fact I was on a mission to make it as hard as I could. I was a rebellious kid. I just didn’t work well with rules, or anything for that matter, except my snowboard, my skateboard, and my music.

Who did you used to look up to?
When I was a little girl, from walking pretty much to ages ten or eleven, I wanted to be Mary Lou Retton, or I should say, the next Mary Lou Retton. I lived at the gym and for the gym. I competed Class Three in all four events balance beam, floor exercises, parallel bars, and vault and walked on my hands everywhere-which I still do from time to time. I quit around the time my parents divorced. Since then I can’t remember any other one person having such a heroic impact on my life as she did.

Do you feel a little weird these days in that a lot of kids and even some grown-ups look at you for inspiration?
I wouldn’t say I feel weird; it’s more like unbelievable at times. That’s probably the highest form of flattery a person could ask for. So much about my life has changed, and still so much about myself is the same. I’m doing the same stuff now as I was doing six, seven, eight, nine years ago-I just have a bit more extras here and there and get to go surfing more. So what I’m getting at is all the extras that are happening in my life now come to me as somewhat surprising, and I hope it always stays that way.

How did you do inigh school?
Most of the time barely passing to failing. I spent a lot of time sleeping in class. I pretty much hated school. Being on the soccer team was the only good thing about going to school, that and it was a really fun place to skate to. There weren’t that many skaters at my school, but we had a crew. That was the funnest part about growing up-skating and going to the beach. I guess I still do that in a lot of ways. I ended up dropping out my sophomore year. After living with friends here and there in Newport and Venice, I eventually moved to Mammoth at seventeen.

You dropped out and you made it. You proved the system wrong. Should other kids follow your lead?
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. Looking back, that time of my life, although adventurous and crazy, was also hard. I did whatever I wanted to do, but I didn’t know what I was doing, so I floated from one place to the next. I knew I wanted to skate and snowboard, but making any kind of living at it then wasn’t really any kind of living. The people who really knew me then trip on where I’ve gone and say they’re proud, and it’s nice. It’s nice to be recognized for working for what you’ve got. There were lots of times when I got discouraged. I almost gave up a couple times when my sponsors dropped me. I was forced to think of what else I could do, and since I didn’t know, it was like all or nothing. So I had to make something happen. With the help of a few good friends, things started to happen. So should kids follow my lead? Maybe not dropping out of school, but being determined, yeah. Even if it’s not snowboarding they choose to follow. It’s a crazy world of opportunity we live in, and with determination and faith in yourself, anything is possible. Wow …. that sounds like heavy lyrics to an old Beatles song. But it’s true.

Where do you want to end up when this whole snowboarding thing is done?
I wouldn’t mind settling down in one area for a while and meeting, you know, that special someone to grow old and happy with, on a tropical island, in the middle of nowhere with perfect waves, a skatepark, and tree swings. Then me and Tarzan could hang out with all the other monkeys. That would probably get old after a while, though. It’s the ol’ “can’t have too much of a good thing” deal. Right now I just want to set myself up to be financially independent for whatever the future holds for me. I’m starting to invest in properties, stocks, things like that. I’m definitely learning as I go and trying to be as smart as I can about things. I’m straight focused on snowboarding. I don’t want to get distracted by the nonsense. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at now, so for me to think of the later is difficult ’cause I’m so wrapped in the now. Does that make sense?

Umm, yeah, I guess. Tarzan, stocks, and bonds-you’ve really got a diversified portfolio. Let’s delve into your musical preference.
My preference is music-I’m easily turned on to all kinds of sounds. I definitely have heart for old punk-rock music like G.B.H, Exploited, Rudimentary Peni, S.L.F, Adolescents, and The Damned, just to name a few. That kind of music was a big part of my growing pains. I was always a music junkie, buying what I could and spending late nights recording my friends’ vinyl. Most of my friends were in bands, so all I did was go to shows. I miss that. It’s hard to say what my flavor is ’cause it just depends on what mood I’m in. Now that I have a little cash, I seriously buy ten to twenty CDs a month, if not more. My car’s a mess of CD cases.

So then you’re familiar with dudes in rap game talking about how they’re on the lookout for gold-diggin’ hos. Now that you’re driving through Mammoth in a brand-new Cadillac Escalade bumpin’ Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin” are you watchin’ out for gold-diggin’ bros?
Ya know, a girl’s gotsta do her thang!Why has the progression of males and females in the sport been so different? Is it purely physical limitations, or have women just not pushed themselves to the level the men have? This is like the question of the new decade or whatever. I’ve tried answering this plenty of times before, but you know what?
What?
I don’t know. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. If you break it down to an individual thing as opposed to a gender thing, then it only matters how far that individual allows themself to go, guy or girl. That’s how I see it.Does that mean people of the female gender are going to be stepping it up soon?I think this year you’ll be seeing more girls bust out.

What’s your feeling on the whole “Girls Kick Ass” movement in snowboarding?
Girls do kick ass, but I’m not one to get all up in your face about it. Damn, guys kick ass, too. In fact, I need one of those stickers for my board.

Do you watch soap operas, or is there enough drama in your life without them?
I’m doing this interview with you, aren’t I?
Really? You’re gonna come at me like that? Okay Little Miss Poet, let’s hear you say something poetic.
Oh, I am like a P.O.E.T-Pondering On Endless Thinking. I call these “Midnight madness of the mind, and now it’s sleepy time.”
I tried to say something and came up dry
I tried to remember the reason why
I tried so hard I began to cry
But hey, at least I tried
or
I tried to be what I was not
Then I drank two coffee pots
And now I got mad stomach rot
How’s that for poetic thought?

Holy shit, you’re like a modern-day Edgar Allen Poe. Okay, only two more to go. If you had to choose between having bamboo shoots shoved underneath your fingernails or doing another interview with me, which would you choose?
I love ya, Nate, but I would have to say I’d choose the bamboo-shoots thing. Doing an interview with you could seriously make a person go insane. Besides, I have a high tolerance for pain.

I love ya, too, Taradactal. Now it’s time for you to thank your sponsors and all the influential people in your life.
Oh man, here goes. Okay, well first of all, I want to thank the Familie for making my life totally crazy. In all seriousness, thank you. I want to thank my family for their understanding and say hey Mom, Dad, Shauna and the boys, Nick, Brett, Mark and Shane, Sue and Ty, little Austin, Grandma, and especially to my one and only big sis Stacie, who I wish I was there for more. To my sponsors, the people who helped me get sponsored, and everyone at Active, Sims, Dragon, Vans, Billabong, B.K., Sessions, Athletedirect.com, Mountain Dew, Shane at Mammoth Mountain, Josh, Janowitz, and GMC. A whole yada thanks to Dawger; Rosco; Mr. Jones for sharing; Ruht; Jimmy; Johnson, I’m moving to S.L., can I use your sled? Wastell, Parker, and Basich; to my friends in Mammoth-what up, girls and all the heads I’ve known forever. Circe and Andy congrats, J.G. and N., Aims and S., B.H. and D. congrats, Alex B; Lucas; Tiff; Danska; Keith; Saby; Laurel; Wolfe; Shem; the Sims crew, C.B.; to skating to waves to music and all the free shizat I get in the mail-ahhhh there’s so much to thank. To inspiration and determination, to the kids, to the love, to the guy who gave me a good deal on my Cadi, and to everyone I haven’t forgot ’cause you were in my thoughts while making this already over-done list. Oh yeah, and to you, too, Nate. XOXO.ot pushed themselves to the level the men have? This is like the question of the new decade or whatever. I’ve tried answering this plenty of times before, but you know what?
What?
I don’t know. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. If you break it down to an individual thing as opposed to a gender thing, then it only matters how far that individual allows themself to go, guy or girl. That’s how I see it.Does that mean people of the female gender are going to be stepping it up soon?I think this year you’ll be seeing more girls bust out.

What’s your feeling on the whole “Girls Kick Ass” movement in snowboarding?
Girls do kick ass, but I’m not one to get all up in your face about it. Damn, guys kick ass, too. In fact, I need one of those stickers for my board.

Do you watch soap operas, or is there enough drama in your life without them?
I’m doing this interview with you, aren’t I?
Really? You’re gonna come at me like that? Okay Little Miss Poet, let’s hear you say something poetic.
Oh, I am like a P.O.E.T-Pondering On Endless Thinking. I call these “Midnight madness of the mind, and now it’s sleepy time.”
I tried to say something and came up dry
I tried to remember the reason why
I tried so hard I began to cry
But hey, at least I tried
or
I tried to be what I was not
Then I drank two coffee pots
And now I got mad stomach rot
How’s that for poetic thought?

Holy shit, you’re like a modern-day Edgar Allen Poe. Okay, only two more to go. If you had to choose between having bamboo shoots shoved underneath your fingernails or doing another interview with me, which would you choose?
I love ya, Nate, but I would have to say I’d choose the bamboo-shoots thing. Doing an interview with you could seriously make a person go insane. Besides, I have a high tolerance for pain.

I love ya, too, Taradactal. Now it’s time for you to thank your sponsors and all the influential people in your life.
Oh man, here goes. Okay, well first of all, I want to thank the Familie for making my life totally crazy. In all seriousness, thank you. I want to thank my family for their understanding and say hey Mom, Dad, Shauna and the boys, Nick, Brett, Mark and Shane, Sue and Ty, little Austin, Grandma, and especially to my one and only big sis Stacie, who I wish I was there for more. To my sponsors, the people who helped me get sponsored, and everyone at Active, Sims, Dragon, Vans, Billabong, B.K., Sessions, Athletedirect.com, Mountain Dew, Shane at Mammoth Mountain, Josh, Janowitz, and GMC. A whole yada thanks to Dawger; Rosco; Mr. Jones for sharing; Ruht; Jimmy; Johnson, I’m moving to S.L., can I use your sled? Wastell, Parker, and Basich; to my friends in Mammoth-what up, girls and all the heads I’ve known forever. Circe and Andy congrats, J.G. and N., Aims and S., B.H. and D. congrats, Alex B; Lucas; Tiff; Danska; Keith; Saby; Laurel; Wolfe; Shem; the Sims crew, C.B.; to skating to waves to music and all the free shizat I get in the mail-ahhhh there’s so much to thank. To inspiration and determination, to the kids, to the love, to the guy who gave me a good deal on my Cadi, and to everyone I haven’t forgot ’cause you were in my thoughts while making this already over-done list. Oh yeah, and to you, too, Nate. XOXO.